One of the tips was to begin a bedtime ritual to help your body unwind and prepare for sleep.
So today, I wanted to share with you a type of exercise that’ll do just that.
Now, I know what you must be thinking.
“Doesn’t exercise help to wake you up?”
Well, yes and no.
While it’s true that exercise can boost your energy levels in the short term, the long term effects of regular exercise might surprise you.
According to an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine, doing at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each evening can do wonders for your sleep quality.
But which exercise is best?
Have you considered yoga?
At The Mindful Clinic, we frequently recommend yoga to patients looking to improve their sleep quality.
In this article, we’ll explain what yoga is, its benefits, and how you can learn yoga from the comfort of your own home.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient Indian spiritual practice which is currently experiencing a massive rise in popularity.
Today, it’s commonly viewed as an anaerobic exercise helpful in the promotion of both mental and physical health.
Yoga includes many varieties of styles and intensities, and often includes both meditative and physical aspects.
In the Western hemisphere, yoga typically includes three aspects:
- Physical postures, or asanas
- Breathing techniques, or pranayama
- Meditation, or dyana
What Are The Benefits of Yoga?
Much like naturopathic medicine, yoga’s techniques help promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
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But one of the greatest benefits of yoga is its ability to help you manage the stressors of everyday life.
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By incorporating meditation and breathing exercises, it can help take your body out of its mode of heightened stress and awareness (the “fight or flight” response) and return to a state of peaceful relaxation.
Additional benefits of yoga include:
- Improved mental health
- Reduced depression and anxiety
- Improved balance
- Lower back pain and neck pain relief
- Quitting smoking
- Reduction of menopause symptoms
- Management of symptoms related to chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis
And, of course, it can really help your sleep.
How Can Yoga Improve Your Sleep?
A 2013 study by Bankar et al. found that regular yoga can help improve your sleep in a variety of ways.
- Better overall sleep quality
- Less sleep disturbances
- Reduced daytime sleepiness
- Reduced time to fall asleep
But how does yoga achieve all of this?
For starters, it helps to increase your body’s levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Another reason is the inherent relaxation, and subsequent sleepiness, many people experience with yoga.
Finally, it can help with your stress levels, and subsequently improve your sleep.
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Give us a call at The Mindful Clinic to hear more about the many ways yoga can improve your sleep.
Dangers of Yoga
Overall, yoga is considered safe.
However, it’s important to be aware of your own limitations.
If you have recently suffered an injury, or if you have a chronic injury to a certain area of your body, be careful not to push that area too hard.
Likewise, if you haven’t been terribly active lately, you may be at an increased risk of pulling a muscle or otherwise straining yourself.
Yoga isn’t supposed to hurt.
If it is, you’re doing something wrong.
At The Mindful Clinic, Dr. Maria can help show you how to practice yoga properly and safely.
How To Practice Yoga
Now that you’ve heard more about the benefits of yoga, you might be wondering how to get started.
Jumping right into the most complex poses is bound to make you overwhelmed.
So, it’s important to remember to start small.
Even the yoga experts had to start somewhere.
One free resource you can use is YouTube.
Youtube has a bunch of guided yoga videos for all skill levels.
For beginners, we recommend the creator Yoga with Adrienne, who has a number of yoga videos on YouTube for all sorts of things.
If you like their content, make sure to check out their video on yoga for bedtime.
And if you still have questions about yoga, you can give us a call at The Mindful Clinic.
Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today
If you’re interested in living a healthier, happier, more optimal life, we can help.
Here at the Mindful Healing Clinic, we offer a FREE health and wellness session to first time visitors.
During that session, you’ll get a chance to ask Dr. Maria questions about naturopathic medicine.
From there, Dr. Maria will listen to your concerns, and help you understand what you can do to begin improving your health.
Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today and find out how natural techniques, such as yoga, can improve your life.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.